AL West Predictions and Au Revoir
This is my 5th and (thankfully) final piece on the AL West. After taking a deep look at all of the teams MLB rosters and farm systems, I believe I may have the best grasp on this division of anyone not currently working in it. For the last 3 years this division has been run by the Angels and Mariners, who have also incidentally been the AL representative in the world series. The American League has won EVERY championship in league history, so that in turn means that the World Series trophy has resided on the west coast for over 1000 days consecutively. So on our way back East, lets take a look at the future of this league, by making some outlandish and most likely 100% wrong predictions for the 2017 season.
I didn’t touch on pitching this time around, which is odd for me, as Pitching tends to be my favorite part of the game. But for the sake of this article, I will quickly lay out their ratings:
- Seattle Mariners – 3 legit Cy Young contenders, and 2 additional top end starters.
- La Angels – Weakest part of their roster, still well above average.
- Texas Rangers – They have some talent, but down in Arlington, everyone gets shelled.
- Houston Astros – Young staff with some upside
- Oakland A’s – Eh.
As poorly as I rated some of the Mariners offensive abilities, their pitching staff is just insane. I have to commend GM Justin Kaiser for accumulating so many talented arms. He is clearly counting on his staff to carry him into the playoffs again. I think his staff is good enough to completely make up for what may be a tough go of it at time offensively (even though they really shouldn’t struggle that hard), and capture his first AL West crown since 2014. Of course in order to do so, they are most likely going to need to best a team that has won over 100 games in back to back years. Here are my predictions for the AL West standings at the end of the season:
- Seattle Mariners – 103-59
- Los Angeles Angels – 102-60
- Texas Rangers – 88-74
- Oakland A’s – 75-89
- Houston Astros – 60-102
As much as I like what is going on in Houston, I just do not believe they will be able to rise as much as the other teams in this division this year. Tecas remains in 3rd simply because they can out-slug 90% of teams they match up with, and because they were REALLY young last year. LA and Seattle at the top is kind of a toss up, but I have faith in the M’s pitching staff. Two teams with 100 wins in 1 division seems impossible to me, but in 2015, the Mariners won 99 games and the Angels won 103, so it can certainly be done. Now lets take a look at the first team All AL West team for 2017:
C – Jason Castro SEA – .300/18/72 – Castro rises back above .300 again and continues to produce as one of the top backstops in the league.
1B – Arialdi Peguero TEX – .315/35/104 – In his first full year as a pro, Peguero crushed 41 home runs and drove in 100 rbi’s.
2B – Daniel Paolini LAA – .305/12/73 – Surrounded by talent and run producing potential, Paolini is the best of a weak class of 2B in the AL West.
3B – Zach Cox LAA – .275/15/65 – Again, not an overly impressive group here, but Cox is more than adequate.
SS – Andres Yanez OAK – .315/3/45 – If he played anywhere but Oakland, this would be a no brainer, but the lack of talent around him limits his statistical appeal.
LF – Jing-Bo Xun LAA – .299/30/99 – 2016 All-Star and Silver Slugger. Nick Williams in pushing him, but Xun belongs on this squad.
CF – Jeffery Moore HOU – .305/26/74 – He needs to step into his own to get here, but Moore is the most talented CF in a division stuffed to the gills with talented CF.
RF – Nomar Mazara LAA – .325/33/115 – Anyone surprised here? This dude is legit.
DH – Xue-Liang Wong TEX – .290/25/85 – He has been crushing the ball for YEARS, and he will continue to do so.
SP – Nathan Eovaldi SEA, Jordan Zimmerman SEA, Shao-Qi Fung HOU
Lot of Angels on that list, as you would probably assume. Now onto the Second Team:
C- Brett Nicholas TEX
1B – Anthony Rizzo SEA
2B – Alejandro Selen HOU
3B – Robert Ramirez OAK
SS – Elvis Andrus TEX
LF – Nick Williams HOU
CF – Mark Baker SEA
RF – Jacob Skole TEX
DH – Matsutaro Ohayashi LAA
And with that, I will finally leave the west coast and head home to the East coast.